Reigning winner Oscar Tshiebwe was among the players selected to the men’s Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 list announced Monday evening.
The award is given annually to the best college basketball player in the country.
Tshiebwe, a 6-foot-9 Kentucky forward, ran away with the Wooden Award on the men’s side last season, becoming the first Kentucky player to win the award since Anthony Davis in 2012. He entered this season as the favorite to win it again , and while Kentucky has been inconsistent for much of the season, Tshiebwe is still averaging 16.6 points and leads the country in rebounding (13.7 RPG).
The heavy favorite entering February is perceived to be Purdue’s Zach Edey, the dominant 7-foot-4 center for the nation’s top-ranked team. Edey is 10th in the country in scoring (21.4 PPG) and third in rebounding (13.0 RPG), while also blocking 2.3 shots per game and shooting better than 61% from the field. He’s coming off arguably his most impressive performance of the season, finishing with 38 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday’s win over Michigan State.
Four players, including Tshiebwe and Edey, were also on last season’s late season top 20 list. Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme joined Tshiebwe and Edey on both lists, and both are among the top candidates behind Edey.
Jackson-Davis is averaging 27.3 points, 13.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.0 blocks in his past four games for a resurgent Hoosiers team, while Timme is posting career highs across the board (21.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.4 APG) despite Gonzaga not being in its usual position near the top of the rankings.
Along with Jackson-Davis and Timme, Edey’s stiffest competition for the award will likely come from Kansas forward Jalen Wilson. Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is one of the biggest breakout stars in the country this season, averaging 21.4 points and 8.6 rebounds, stepping up for the Jayhawks following the departures of Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. Wilson has played his best basketball of the season in recent weeks, putting up 28.3 points and 7.3 rebounds over his past four games — including a 38-point performance at Kansas State in mid-January.
Among the other notable names is Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis, the nation’s leading scorer. He set the Division I career record for 3-pointers made earlier this month, while also moving to No. 2 on the all-time scoring list.
The men’s Wooden Award has been given out every year since 1977, starting with UCLA star Marques Johnson.
The women’s Wooden Award began in 2004 with Duke’s Alana Beard the first recipient. South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston won the award last season and headlined its late season top 20 list also announced Monday evening.